Seung-hee Lee

Seung-hee Lee

b. 1963

During the course of two decades, from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, Seung-hee Lee intensively trained in the techniques of porcelain pottery. After working with clay for over twenty years he began to interpret it in a broader sense and wanted to challenge the possibility of using the medium of porcelain pottery as the basis of contemporary art. From the late 1990s he began to see a way to incorporate the ancestral craft of pottery, making it into a new form of contemporary art. Seung-hee Lee’s work centers on empty space. He mixes clay, which is the basis of porcelain, with water to a consistency similar to paint, and paints once every day on top of the surface of a flat board which is also made from clay. As the clay dries, the repetitive painting allows layers to accumulate, giving the surface a depth. Seung-hee scrapes off the surface to create the figures and the empty space, and then glazes and bakes the pieces in a kiln. It takes about ninety days to complete one work. The porcelain vessel, that looks like the center of the piece, actually is a tool to explain the empty space. Seung-hee’s artistic purpose is not so much to make a statement, but more on the side of questioning his identity as an artist as well as a person who lives in this world.  Lee makes an effort to create color as close to the traditional color by using ancestral technique and materials to allow the viewer to feel the history of the medium. Seung-hee wants viewers to feel the tension between the old and the contemporary. Seung-hee’s use of ancestral methods to create two-dimensional porcelain sets him apart from other artists. The artworks are all titled Tao and are numbered. In Chinese Tao means ‘porcelain’ and in English means ‘the path.’ Seung-hee Lee does not ascribe deeper meaning to titles, but if pressed to put meaning then it would be the discipline of his finding his own path through his work in porcelain.

sflwaSeung-hee Lee